Judge tosses Aaron Hernandez's conviction in 2013 murder
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 11, 2017,
May 11, 2017, 9:03
According to ESPN, Judge E. Susan Garsh cited a legal doctrine that vacates convictions when a defendant dies before an appeal in justifying her decision to vacate the conviction of Hernandez for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
MA courts have generally recognized a legal rule called "abatement ab initio", or abatement, in which convictions are thrown out if a defendant dies before his or her appeal is heard.
Prosecutors had argued that Hernandez aimed to void his conviction when he hanged himself April 19 in his prison cell. "This court can not know why Hernandez chose to end his life", Garsh said, adding that suicide is a "complex act that may have myriad causes".
Hernandez's conviction in the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd was vacated Tuesday due to a MA law allowing for such a decision if a person dies before their appeal process fully plays out, per CNN.com's Eric Levenson and Holly Yan.
At the time of his death, Hernandez had not exhausted his appeals for his first-degree murder conviction in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a conviction under MA law that is automatically appealed to the state's highest court. The suicide stunned his family because it came just days after Hernandez been found not guilty of a 2012 double murder.
Aaron Hernandez's prison suicide has unraveled a mess of legal confusion.
"I told you what was coming indirectly!" "When the defendant dies after a trial and before an appeal the abatement ab initio doctrine applies without exception", Thompson explained during the hearing.
Federal courts have widely adopted the abatement principle. The prosecutor added Hernandez forfeited his right to appeal by taking his own life and that more courts in the country where moving away from allowing abatements. The judge threw out Hernandez's conviction at the Fall River Justice Center. When asked about a possible motion to reconsider the award in light of the conviction being voided, Sheff said he did not fear one. But he noted that a message Hernandez left for his fiancee said, in part: Youre rich..
Hernandez had a $41 million National Football League contract when he was arrested at his home in June 2013 and charged with murder.
The families of those two men, Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, have also filed wrongful death lawsuits against Hernandez' estate.
"But I know one day I'm going to see my son, and that's the victory that I have that I'm going to take with me", Ward said Tuesday afternoon. It is unclear whom Hernandez named as his beneficiary in case of death.